Jazz jive will permeate UAHS Fall Follies
From Big Band swing to bebop's Everybody's Boppin', Upper Arlington High School's vocal music students will kick of the performance season with a Fall Follies production of a program titled "All That Jazz."
Vocal Music Director Eric Kauffman said more than 300 students -- members of all six of the high school choirs -- are involved in the Fall Follies.
"Our theme is 'All that Jazz,' which is basically a collection of songs from the American Jazz era," he said. "Our Fall Follies is in vaudevillian style, so we will have large chorus numbers with soloists and duets in between. We will have different solo and specialty acts each night."
Show times are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, and Saturday, Oct. 19; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, in the Upper Arlington High School auditorium, 1650 Ridgeview Road.
General admission tickets are $8 and reserved seating is available for $10, $12 and $14.
Tickets may be ordered online at uavocalmusic.org. Tickets and information about seating are also available by calling 614-487-5240, ext. 7464.
Kauffman said the pit band that accompanies the choirs and solo acts will be made up of district band directors, along with a few UAHS alumni.
He said the Follies will feature many styles of jazz.
"We'll be doing In the Mood, which is a famous Glenn Miller song and a bebop number called Everybody's Boppin'. We'll feature the Dean Martin song Ain't That a Kick in the Head, which the kids had a lot of fun with," he said.
"There is also a very Latin influence in American jazz," he said. "Our women's chorus will perform the song Sway, which has a very Latin feeling and Latin choreography."
Kauffman said two songs people may easily recognize are from the musical Guys and Dolls.
"The men's choir will sing Luck Be a Lady Tonight and the women's choir will sing I've Never Been in Love Before," he said.
Some of the song arrangements proved to be challenging for students.
"Our Vocal Ensemble had to work hard to master a song from Manhattan Transfer, called A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," he said. "I think some of the kids weren't sure the song would come together for them, but they are doing well with it now."
He said the show will close with a rousing rendition of When the Saints Go Marching In, but before that, the Follies will feature a unique twist -- a new jazz arrangement of the high school's Alma Mater. It was arranged by Gary Lewis, a friend of Kauffman's, who is the choral director at Solon (Ohio) High School.
Kauffman said the Fall Follies is a creative way to kick off the performance season.
"I always compare it to doing a musical," he said. "A musical is putting a puzzle together, using songs and scripts you are provided, whereas the Follies mean creating your own puzzle. We can pick any songs we want, so I tried to find a variety of songs.
"It was interesting to find out which songs the kids said they had never heard before that some of us consider standards," he said. "Some of the kids had a hard time realizing that songs like In the Mood were popular songs that teenagers danced to 75 years ago. It was a lot of fun to see their reactions."